Genital herpes is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. While there’s no cure for herpes, there are strategies you can use to deal with herpes flare-ups when they arise.
At Bergen Aesthetics, Heripsime Ohanian, PhD, MD, FACOG, offers comprehensive STD testing services in-office for herpes, gonorrhea, and other diseases spread through sexual contact. Dr. Ohanian can also discuss your options for additional testing and treatment.
What to know about herpes
Genital herpes is an STD that results from two types of viruses — herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
HVS-1 typically causes fever blisters or cold sores on or around your mouth. You can also have the virus without experiencing any symptoms.
The virus generally spreads through saliva during nonsexual contact. However, you can also contract the virus during oral sex.
HV2-2 spreads through vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected person. You can develop an infection from a partner who doesn’t have visible symptoms.
Symptoms of the herpes virus can be nonexistent or mild. You may experience flu-like symptoms such as swollen glands or fever during the initial outbreak of the herpes virus.
You might also notice sores or blisters developing around your mouth, genitals, or rectum, which can become itchy or painful.
Recognizing a herpes flare-up
After experiencing an initial herpes outbreak, you can have recurrent flare-ups. The flare-ups typically last for a shorter period of time than the initial outbreak. However, genital herpes is an infection you have for life.
If you haven’t been diagnosed but develop herpes symptoms, you should schedule STD testing right away and avoid having sex. Dr. Ohanian can assess any visible sores and may take a sample for further testing. You might also need blood work to confirm you have the herpes virus.
If you already have a herpes diagnosis, you should monitor your body for blisters and other symptoms. You should also continue to take any antiviral medications that are part of your treatment plan. Medications can help sores heal faster and shorten the duration of your flare-up.
It’s also important that you take necessary precautions to avoid spreading a herpes infection to others. Routine STD testing is critical because many people have herpes unknowingly because they don’t experience any symptoms.
How to slow the spread of genital herpes
The only guaranteed way to prevent passing genital herpes on to your sexual partner is to avoid sex.
However, you can still maintain intimacy and lower your risk for infection spread by wearing a condom and staying vigilant about following your herpes treatment plan. You should also avoid sexual activity during a herpes outbreak.
It’s also important that you learn how to cope with any guilt or embarrassment you have about your diagnosis. You’ll need to be open with your current or future partner about your condition, so they can take the right precautions.
Call Bergen Aesthetics in Paramus, New Jersey, to schedule STD testing if you have symptoms or risk factors for herpes or other sexually transmitted diseases or book an appointment online today.